Royle warns against complacency

THE hurt caused by defeat at Rotherham last year is still keenly felt by Ipswich Town and Blues boss Joe Royle has warned against similar complacency, writes Derek Davis.

THE hurt caused by defeat at Rotherham last year is still keenly felt by Ipswich Town and Blues boss Joe Royle has warned against similar complacency, writes Derek Davis.

Town were a goal up at Millmoor last season and apparently coasting to victory before being caught out by two soft goals.

Royle said: "We had just beaten the champions Portsmouth quite convincingly at home but it was a complete turnaround at Rotherham. I still don't know how their two goals went in but they did.

"We were looking very solid there until one or two people switched off, which has been a familiar trend."

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Although Rotherham are four points and four places ahead of third-from-bottom Derby County, they still have plenty to play for.

Royle said: "Ronnie Moore will be telling them to hit 50 points. There is nothing they like better than to turn over what they see as the bigger sides, the Fancy Dans, which they may see us as."

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A win for Town could see them move into the top six, depending on results elsewhere.

Royle said: "We have six games left and are still in with a great chance. We would have settled for this position back in September when we were bottom.

"All these are must-win games but we have been saying that for some while now. But if we can have the same performance as we did against West Brom with a bit of added luck then I will be happy.

"We could do with a little break in front of goal."

The last time Town lost to West Brom they won nine of their next 10 games – five out of six would probably do nicely this time.

Royle said: "It has been disappointing that we have not gone on from our pre-Christmas run as well as we would have liked but there have been mitigating circumstances.

"Matt Elliott has been here four games now and has had three different partners in central defence. As a team we have had 11 different pairings through the season while everyone else have had steady pairings.

"We won three out of four games since losing three in a row and a similar wining run will see us in the play-offs."

United's small ground, which is also used for Rugby Union, is a far cry from the plush playing surface at Portman Road and Town will also be ready for their bruising style.

Royle said: "It is never an easy place to go and they do very well on limited resources.

"Ronnie Moore has done a smashing job and I don't want to demean anything they do.

"They sell their best players for big money when they can and replace them so they do as well as they can.

"I don't expect the pitch to be as good as ours, very few are, but they do leave their pitch quite rutted and I don't blame them."

The Town manager will make the journey from the club's Yorkshire hotel to watch Sunderland at Sheffield United this afternoon, while Norwich entertain Wigan.

Royle is hoping to have an unchanged side to face Rotherham, although with the Sunderland game coming up so quickly he may not risk anyone who is not 100%.

Ian Westlake looks to have won his fitness battle ahead to the game at Millmoor. Although his calf was still strapped yesterday he is expected to join in training today.

Skipper Jim Magilton has been struggling with a tight hamstring caused by a back complaint but is also determined to make the game.

Martijn Reuser is on stand-by to start if either fail to make it and Georges Santos could step up with Drissa Diallo partnering Matt Elliott at the back if needed.

Alun Armstrong has been added to the 18-man squad, which travels to Rotherham today for tomorrow's game.

John McGreal has failed to recover sufficiently to be involved at Millmoor but is in consideration for Monday's home clash with Sunderland. Richard Naylor and Pablo Counago are also making steady progress and both could be included in the reserve team, which entertains Fulham at Portman Road on Wednesday.

Ipswich Town: Davis, Price, Wilnis, Richards, Mitchell, Santos, Diallo, Elliott, Magilton, Westlake, Miller, Wright, Reuser, Magilton, Bent, Bowditch, Kuqi and Armstrong.

n TOMMY Miller has been named in a provisional Scotland squad to play Denmark in Copenhagen on April 28, two days before Town's crucial play-off clash at Sheffield United.

The actual squad will not be named until a week before the game but if Miller is included, Ipswich will have to release him.

The Scots have also got friendlies lined up for the end of May against Estonia in Tallin and Trinidad & Tobago in Edinburgh but Miller will hopefully be busy preparing for the play-off final in Cardiff.

If Town don't make it then the Easington-born midfielder is planning to have an operation to realign his jaw as soon as the season is over.

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